Tag Archives: gender roles

Stellas.

 

(Previously on The War Bride: narrator watches a 4-hour Emma miniseries, experiences a moment of clarity.)

I have good, reliable friends. Smart, too. The kind of smart you trust will tell you if you’re deluding yourself.

No need for the bullet list now. Let’s go straight to the main course.

Two girls named Stella.

(The overabundance of Stellas isn’t anything to write home about, per se. Were they male instead of female, we’d be facing an overabundance of Fabios. Funny how first names can rise up and dominate a generation only to be regarded as quaint little artifacts ten years down the line.)

(But we’re not majoring in dude history here. So bear with me.)

Stella One is married, living abroad, and older – but not that much.

Stella Two is half of a lovable twosome, living in Italy, and younger – but not that much.

Each Stella knows about the Other Stella. They never met.

As it happens, though, they share an uber-feminist take on popular culture, a mate who worships the ground they walk on, an enviable grasp on current events, a warm, easy way with words and an uncanny ability to balance any household chore with a career in traditionally male-dominated fields. If 2012 brings us even a fraction of the disasters we fear will strike, and the only people in the northern hemisphere that manage to survive are the Stellas, in a couple weeks electricity’d be up and running again. I love them dearly.

Let’s see what they made of my situation, as of last week.

Stella One:

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but panic’s a sneaky fucker, therefore its trigger will change as it pleases. Just sayin’.”

Stella Two:

“You’re so bothered by our political situation because you don’t have a man. I’ve got a man, see what I care.” (sips tea; inhales, exhales; looks me dead in the eyes) “Yeah, you’re pretty much doomed to carry your unhappiness along, no matter where you move.”

It’s all in good faith, and the sentiment is appreciated, but I wonder why all of a sudden everyone decided that “unadulterated honesty” is where it’s at. Was there a big girlfriend convention while I was gone? Was it called Sorry If I Hit A Nerve?

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Filed under Bride Mom: unlikely voice of reason, mates of fail, regrouping wheee, things the social contract should be more specific about

Pet and/or cattle (I should not be blogging right now)

So.

I should not be blogging right now because I spent the whole morning trying to get paid for work I’ve done in the past three months.

I should not be blogging because when your head hits a ceiling made of anger, frustration and sheer loneliness, you should turn to useful things like taking a walk or making a sandwich for your blind neighbour. Nice, mature, gender-approved and age-appropriate things.

What I am doing is blogging. Bear with me.

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If you’re a girl, and you’re born in Italy, there’s two career paths you can take.

Pet.

Find rich guy

Date rich guy

Live with / Marry rich guy

Aaaand you’re set.

(Pet /2: land influential boyfriend/lover that will take care of your professional future. No. Different. At all.)

Cattle

Hope you won’t die today.

And that is all.

(And this, apparently, is how an entire nation becomes a plotline from “Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso“. Can’t vouch for that, but I’m afraid the reference’s spot on.)

A jilted boyfriend can – and probably will – kill you out of spite. Any male relative can beat you up until he damn well pleases. And now, you might want to check out some stats – Italian text only, ’cause we sure don’t want other people to find out how bad things are going around here.

Despite that, the public debate on women seems to have narrowed down to a parade of talk show hosts asking, “Scantily clad babes on our TV screens: Yes or No?”. (Think about “Even Stevphen“. Then take it down a few notches.)

So you protect yourself any way you can.

Money. Doors. Marriage. Lack of eye contact. Earplugs. More money.

I’m tired of making myself invisible so that pretty please maybe I get to come home safe.  I’m tired of hiding.

And I can hide behind anything – long hair, oversized clothing, displacement, old tricks, cigarettes, bouts of laziness, workaholism, not leaving the house, claiming I’m short on cash or hope, saying I’m too old for it anyway.

My parents tried to make an convincing argument out of the whole “oh noes, if you move away we’ll never get to see you anymore” (true), but they also said, “with an itty bitty bit of luck you can find someone here, too”.

Not true.

Guys, I can’t fall in love with you when I hate this country so much.

Provided there is someone ok out there, I won’t even see him.

I can’t get over the fact that, to me, Italian men and Italy are one and the same. That I resent you for never noticing bruises on a co-worker, always leaving things alone, always hiding behind your own alibis for not stepping up. Always pretending you weren’t there when atrocious, uber-anti-woman laws were being debated. So fuck you, nice, ineffectual boys who never say (let alone do) a thing about sexual harassment in the workplace. Witty, cultured boys who make “oh, you slimmed down” jokes to girls and *know* they’ll totally get away with that. Boys who still think they’re too young to vote. Boys who never take a stand. Boys that still think being boys will let them get away with anything.

But fuck me for thinking there was no rush when everyone else was pairing up, and fuck me for being deluded enough to think being a girl would let me get away with anything, and fuck me for getting sober when chances I’d ever be able to touch someone without getting smashed first looked slim to none, and fuck me for not doing it sooner, because, really, did I have to bat my eyes and hide behind my oh, I’d be lost without my native language fan until it was too late to change a single thing?

Yeah, you might see where I’m coming from.

And I don’t love myself for turning my back to this desperate, sick country, but fuck if it isn’t my last chance to save myself. To find out if I can even function in any environment that resembles normalcy.

If I don’t feel ok with who I am, I can’t fall in love.

If I don’t fall in love, I can’t really stick around in a relationship

(ed: I might still start one, but chances are I’ll bolt in two months’ time and/or start feigning panic attacks –  btw, if you’re reading this and I dated you in my twenties – er. sorry about that.)

If I don’t stick around in a relationship, I’ll forget  the reason I’m doing this.

And if it all sounds a little too Saving Private Ryan-ish for your tastes – there’s nothing I can do about it. Sorry.

—–

So, before I turn into a female dude from Gogol Bordello and start spouting ancient wisdom that doesn’t make a lick of sense, I’ll leave me with two words of advice:

This is where you came from.

Don’t let it fuck you up more than it already did.

—–

(coming up next: Let’s get down to details: travel itineraries, savings, visas and short-term plans.)

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